Our first mission trip with REACHH in Chabin, Haiti!

This spring break, we got a chance to visit the rural town of Chabin, Haiti, and serve the local people with our team of pharmacy students, nurses, pharmacists, and physician.

This was our first mission trip journey with REACHH and what we saw along the way.  It was 9 days of everlasting memories!  We were excited to continue in REACHH’s mission to provide sustainable health care in Haiti by educating the community, improving hygiene, providing immunizations, and working towards building a permanent clinic in Chabin, Haiti.

For Day 1, we saw 56 patients, administered 5 vaccines, 5 IM antibiotic injections, 1 blood glucose test, 56 Hb & malaria tests, and filled 154 prescriptions!  Then the next day, we worked from 8:30AM – 6:15PM and I had no lunch but loved every single minute of it!!!  We still had to turn away 20 patients so they will have to come back the next day 😦 Official statistics of Day 2: 107 patients seen, 2 blood glucose tests, 2 major wound cleanings, 3 IM antibiotic injections, 3 positive cases of malaria, and 351 prescriptions filled!

It was quite an eventful day on our third day of clinic.  We came a little later than yesterday due to a quick stop at the local pharmacy to pick up 2 medications. When we arrived, we had around 100 patients lined up at the door waiting for us! We did best we could to try and get as many patients in as possible but we still had to turn away 50 patients and asked them to come back on our final day of clinic 😦 Official statistics for Day 3: 112 patients seen, 1 BG test, 2 vaccines, 3 wounds treatments, 3 IM antibiotic injections, 2 positive cases of malaria, and 355 prescriptions filled!

On the last day of clinic (Day 4), we saw 108 patients, administered 1 vaccine, 8 IM antibiotic injections, 1 BG test, and filled 373 prescriptions!  Thank goodness we did not have to turn away any patients and were able to helped everyone that came that day!

Total for the entire four days of clinic: 383 patients seen, 8 vaccines, 19 IM antibiotic injections, 5 BG tests, 5 wound treatments, and 1233 prescriptions filled!

Being born and lived in a 3rd world country for 8 years, I thought I have seen it all but I was so wrong.  This trip has reminded me of the abundant blessings I’ve received each day and that I should always be appreciative and thankful.  It also helped me to reflect on what my life would have been like if our family did not come to the US.  Inspired by Father Rick Frechette, who has devoted so much of his life to helping others in Haiti, I wish we can do more. Everything is needed in Haiti. Clothes, drinking water, cots for sleeping, food, medicine, seeds for replanting, cement for rebuilding, shovels for digging through the mud. Everything is needed, but the day is young…and when you still have your life you have everything. This is an end to one journey but hopefully it’s the beginning to many more!

Much love,

Phat & Kim

***All the credits for photos were from our REACHH group members particularly Aaron, Camille, Vanessa, and Stacy.  A few were from my camera and iPhone as well 🙂  Enjoy!  I’ve also kept a journal of my daily experience while in Haiti so check back soon for more pictures and our reflections.

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What classes am I taking!?!?! Part 2

Hope everyone is enjoying spring break! Can you believe there is only a month and a half of school left? We’re almost done with our first year and soon will move on to second year 😮

As promised, here’s the second part of “What classes am I taking!?!?!”.

PHAR 6112 – Pharmaceutical Care Pract II

A continuation of pharm care I – the second semester of pharm care involves a lot of case-studying, where we are required to develop a care plan using soap notes. There have been a couple times where a patient came to our class and us students had the opportunity to ask the patient questions as a group, and come up with the most appropriate care plan for the patients’ condition. I find this class very useful since a lot of pharmaceutical practices are using the soap-note system. Trust me, by the end of this class, you will be a pro at care plans 🙂

PHAR 6152 – Biochem Medicinals II

No more memorizing amino acid structures this time (yay). This semester we get to learn pathways including glycolysis, TCA cycle, metabolism, cholesterol formation, etc etc etc… Well, besides learning about pathways, we learn how defects in biochemical pathways can lead to diseases such as hyperlipidemia, type I and II diabetes, Tay-Sachs diseases, etc. It makes me feel “smart” when I can tell my family and friends what causes the diseases 😛

PHAR 6158 – Recombinant DNA-Derived Drugs 

This class is actually combined with Immunology. I didn’t have to take the Immunology portion since I’ve already taken an undergraduate Immunology course… so I can’t really tell you how the class is. I’ll be starting the second portion of the course  (Recombinant DNA-Derived Drugs) this coming Monday. As the title suggests, I’m assuming we’ll be learning a lot of drugs! 🙂  I heard that it’s an interesting class so I can’t wait to start!

PHAR 6162 – Drug Delivery II

This semester we get to learn about different dosage forms such as tablets, capsules, suspensions, inhalers, ointments, etc. It’s pretty interesting so far – you get to learn how electrical charges can affect the formation of “hard cake”. Don’t know what a “hard cake” is? Just wait till you take this course 🙂

PHAR 6165 – Pharmaceutical Calculations 

This is perhaps one of the most practical courses in this semester. Pharmacists must know how to calculate the appropriate amount of drugs needed in a formulation. It is especially important when making IV drugs since we have to make sure that the drug is within the effective and safe range for the patients. This class is online-based, but we do have to take the exams in person.

PHAR 6172 – Pharmaceutical Care Skills II

LAB! Still my favorite class this semester! We get to learn how to make suppositories and more IV drugs. We also get to learn how to measure blood glucose and inject insulin. As for the patient assessment portion, we get to assess a patient’s condition and develop a care plan based on the information provided. Fun stuff! 

PHAR 6177 – Patient Assessment 

Very interesting class! Before pharmacy school, I’ve always thought that doctors are the ones who perform physical assessment (apparently I watch too much TV, HAHA!). It turns out that pharmacists can perform patient assessment as well. We’re going to perform assessments on our CT (community teacher) in our upcoming visit. Can’t wait for that!

PHAR 6248 – Drugs of Abuse

This is an elective course that is offered once in every three year. It’s so popular there was a wait-list to get into this class! Since it’s an elective, you will be taking this course with second and third-year students. You get to learn about the pharmacology of different street drugs and how they are synthesized. Incredibly interesting course!


This semester we continue to meet with our CTs to follow up on their medications and health conditions. I really enjoy CT visits because I feel like I’m developing a deeper empathetic relationship with her. Besides CT visits, we have other assignments that are aimed to help us develop important professional abilities.

Picture of the week: 

pharm care
A bunch of studious first-year students in pharm care class 🙂

ER Pharmacy – Lovin 8th Block!

Emergency Dept!

Emergency Dept!

I’m just starting my 3rd week on rotation in the Emergency Department (my patient care rotation), and while the ED in general is not like television depictions, it definitely is a really awesome setting to work in. It is one of the newer and growing areas for pharmacy practice, and a lot of studies show our worth at improving patient outcomes, decreasing costs, and serving as a valuable member of the healthcare team.

As the ER is a main source of hospital admissions, a part of the pharmacist’s role is similar to anywhere else in the hospital

Essentia Saint Mary's Medical Center in Duluth (so maybe I borrowed this picture from online)

Essentia Saint Mary’s Medical Center (okay so maybe I borrowed this picture from online)

—to review all orders for appropriateness of selection, dosing, administration, timing, etc. However, they are very involved in a lot of unique roles, which mainly involve working as a full-time troubleshooters and consultants to the doctors, nurses, and other clinicians on the critical care team. The goal is to improve patient care and reduce costs. They make dosing recommendations, follow-up on antibiotic recommendations, help provide toxicology information (including herbal medications, an important source of OD’s and medication interaction-related admissions), medication counseling, medication reconciliation interviewing, and much more. They are also helpful in reducing costs by avoiding wasted medication, suggesting less-expensive drugs or pointing out less expensive ways to deliver the medication.

Codes really do basically look like this - room packed full of people taking care of the patient.

Codes really do basically look like this – room packed full of people taking care of the patient.

Of course, probably the most interesting aspect IS being involved in traumas. Pharmacists are trained in advanced cardiac life support medication algorithms and are

extremely effective at accessing medications, anticipating what will be needed, communicating with the provider calling the code, pulling up doses, being aware of exactly how long it takes agents to start working, how quickly they will wear off, and thinking ahead to have the next dose ready or make recommendations. This frees the nurses and providers to focus on things that are happening bedside. Examples include Rapid Sequence Intubation (RSI), MI’s, strokes, arrhythmias, etc.

I have learned a few things I have learned about the ED in general that make complete sense but that hadn’t necessarily

Not my most flattering ID Picture


occurred to me before—One is- how many of the cases are psych-related, from suicide attempts to erratic behavior, intoxicated patients, threatening patients, etc. Another: The patients either have more mild problems that can be addressed and then discharged, or more major ones that get admitted to the floor—but basically, they don’t stay in the ED. That’s not surprising, but it is a different kind of patient care, in which you only see people for short periods of time, as opposed to seeing them for a few-to-many days when working in-patient, or for repeat appointments or medication-fills over long periods of time such as in ambulatory care or community/retail practice. It’s also an interesting setting in which you really do see a little bit of everything, from pediatrics to geriatrics, heart issues to infectious disease to trauma. Finally- It really is a bustling place where everyone is constantly moving in a kaleidoscope of business. I think also with the pace and lifestyle down here comes a very unique, close knit (and AWESOME) crew.

So happy to be back in this gorgeous city.

So happy to be back in this gorgeous city.

So far I am loving this rotation, even though I haven’t actually been in the ED that much yet. Starting now, I will be much more often, but I’ve had a lot of excellent opportunities arranged by my preceptors to do shadowing opportunities- I followed the IV-Team, the respiratory therapy team, a chaplain, watched a surgery (laparoscopic hysterectomy using a da Vinci surgical robot—very very cool), spend time with the OR pharmacist, shadow a nurse anesthetist, shadow the ER Care Coordinator RN and Social Worker, shadow the ER psychiatry nurse team, shadow the central pharmacy team from med distribution to IV team, etc. I also have a lot of cool independent articles to read, projects to work on, and patients to follow. From here on out, I will be working in the ER much more, and my shifts are noon-10pm to match the ED pharmacist as this is when the majority of traumas happen during the day. Hoping to really work on improving my Infectious Disease knowledge during it all.

Just another day loving life on rotations!! (SO so glad I’m not studying for exams like the rest of my fellow bloggers-may the multiple choice deities be with you all!)



The Best De-stressing Method

Despite the fact that we’re having a quite busy week before spring break, we’re still able to find some time to exercise! I don’t work for the recreational center but I just wanted to let you know that they have some awesome fitness classes such yoga, spin, zumba, kickboxing, belly dancing, etc. My personal favorite is SPIN! I always try to squeeze in some time for spin no matter how busy I am. Exercise just makes me feel refreshed and I get super energized after each workout session… which is good for studying! 😀


So we all decided to get a Fit-Pass to get in shape! You can purchase a Fit-Pass for $55, which allows you to attend as many fitness classes as you want, or you can pay $5 for each class!


*** Here’s an announcement for an upcoming event!

MPSO (Multicultural Pharmacy Student Organization) is hosting an event called “Phestival of Nations” on Thursday, April 11 in the Mayo auditorium from 12-8pm. There will be food, entertainment, and of course, information about pharmacy practice in far-away lands! This event is not limited to current pharmacy students. Anyone who is interested in pharmacy is invited 🙂



Click here to see the UMD CoP Harlem Shake - created partly for fun and mostly as a fundraiser for a mission trip in mexico!


(In case you don’t get around to reading the below, at least watch CoPD’s Harlem Shake Video—Ridiculous and Awesome! Created both for fun and as a fundraiser for the Mission Trip to Mexico: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Dwd6PbNrWY&feature=share. )

2012 edition of Movember, recognized by profs (yes, that's Dunham, and Swanoski too) and students alike!

2012 edition of Movember, recognized by profs (yes, that is Dr. Dunham in there- and Swanoski!) and students alike!!

Broomball 2

Pharmacy Broomball team wins Gold Championship vs the Med School- we were ludicrously happy, can you tell?

MAN we have fun in the “Northland”. I think one of the greatest realizations I’ve had during my 4 years (yeesh it’s gone fast) as a student at UMN is that the two campus are indeed different- not in terms of education, which is not only the same in both places but GREAT at that- but in terms of culture, and that that isn’t at all a bad thing, in fact it’s one of the college’s greatest strengths!! I absolutely adored every single thing about being on the Duluth campus, the absolute biggest reason being: the tight-knit, positive, supportive, creative, FUN culture. So many amazing things that happen as a direct result of being in setting where everyone knows everyone (we seriously do!) and we have a million events (I’ve listed just a few below) and traits that are totally campus-unique and not happening in both places:

2011 Ugly Sweater Party

2011 Ugly Sweater Party

Just a few of the AWESOME things that happen in Duluth:

Ridiculous close-knit culture creativeness, case-in-point: HARLEM SHAKE VIDEO!

Rappers at the Duluth Annual CoP Talent Show

Rappers at the Duluth Annual CoP Talent Show

Annual Talent Show (SO fun, people are amazing. Check out this original-composition all ABOUT going to Pharm School in Duluth by Taylor Hill from this January: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-IydsWjX2Q&feature=youtu.be)

– Amazing whole-class bonding (on an assignment where the prof mistakenly told us we could work in any-size groups we wanted, my entire class banded together to turn in one single project- a class music video spoof of Ice, Ice Baby-A direct result of being a tight-knit culture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NUJ9qOQwz0&feature=youtu.be)

A Dean who knows all of us and cares a ridiculous amount. And that goes for the faculty too- vs in a larger campus setting.

The Commons—so much awesomeness, from resident flamingo’s to microwaves that have names… it’s always a party in there

CoP Polar Plunge Team 2013!

CoP Polar Plunge Team 2013!

Pharmacy Polar Bear Plunge (to raise $ for the Special Olympics- this year team went as waldo, last year as Party Rock, etc!)

Flannel Fridays

Any random Friday :D!

Any random Friday (every Friday is Flannel Friday) :D!

Annual Pharmacy Duluth Bonspiel

Intramurals (Duluth Pharmacy has TONS of teams, and we have a strong tradition of winning. Volleyball, soccer, curling, broomball, softball, tennis!)



UMD PharmD Social Club (hosts tons of awesome events for everyone)

Ugly Sweater Party

– Wine and Cheese Party

– Duluth Days

– Party Bus

– PDX Pub Crawl in Superior (fun times!)

American Pharmacists Month Potlucks in the Commons (so delicious!)

UMD PharmD Event!

UMD PharmD Event!

Nights at Grandma’s, Mexico Lindo, Upbar, Dublin’s, Roscoe’s, etc

Masquerade White Coat Ball

Class Jokes (MEAT, Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That)

Class photos and t-shirts

– so so much more ridiculousness, from entering a member in the Universities Man of the Year competition , to beard-growing competitions that include the profs, to pajama days, a Men of Pharmacy Calendar, and so many other things.

Men of Pharmacy Calendar 2012

Men of Pharmacy Calendar

I can’t tell which comes first- Duluth somehow gets great people and we therefore are an amazing community to be a part of, or that the culture is so great that amazing people are attracted and/or made, but. I feel truly blessed, and for someone who had originally hoped to be on the Twin Cities campus- I can’t be more grateful that I ended up the amazing positive, supportive, friendly culture that I did.

Class of 2013-Duluth!

Class of 2013-Duluth!

As always! BK

13″ of snow! School’s still on…

Hi guys!

We are in the middle of a snow storm but school is still on!  I am guessing that there will be about 15 students in class today 🙂  Below are some pictures of our winter wonderland (and it’s March!) and our long commute to school today.

Such dedicated scholar eh?!?

-Phat & Kim

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Packing for Haiti!

Hi guys,

In just two short weeks, we will be leaving with a group of pharmacy students, nurses, pharmacists, and one doctor to Chabin, Haiti.  This is the first time that we have ever go on a medical mission trip.  There’s lots of things that we need to complete prior to then.  Below are some pictures from our ‘Haiti packing party’ from last Saturday.  We packed over 14 buckets full of medications, food, supplies, and necessities for the people Chabin, Haiti.  We hope to update you guys soon and daily while we are there.  Until then, have a great week and good luck on all your school work!


Phat & Kim

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Weekends in the inpatient

Busy weekend saving lives making some drugs!